Did you see my column in the March issue on helping a teen network his way into college? (It’s on page 46 of the issue with that yummy looking creamy rigatoni on the cover.) There are so many great online tools that aspiring college students can use take virtual college tours, connect with current students of the colleges they long to attend, and even get the attention of college admissions officers. If you have a teen – especially one that loves social networking – check it out.
Since I wrote that piece – and convinced my son to use some of these tools -- he has amassed a box of recruitment letters from schools all over the country and has a mile-long to-do list for getting scholarships. Whether he will ever open all that mail or do anything on that to-do list remains to be seen. But he certainly can’t claim to be out of the loop.
After my press deadline for that piece, though, I looked at another tool designed to help with the very thing that worries me about my teen: Does he have the skills to get accepted to college and keep up with the work while he is there. The site -- Alleyoop.com -- is new and designed to help kids with exactly those skills.
I know my son is not the only one who may not have the study skills he needs for this next phase. Here are the results of a study done by National Center on Education and the Economy
For every 100 9th graders:68 graduate on-time
Of those, 40 enroll directly into college
Of those, 27 are still enrolled the following year
Of those, only 18 earn an Associate's Degree within three years or a Bachelor's Degree within 6 years
Patrick Supanc, president of Alleyoop.com told me that he believes a big part of the reason for this is that teenagers lack the skills to succeed in college – even if they do manage to get accepted. So Alleyoop.com was born to address this. It starts with math -- though more subjects will launch in the future -- because this is where so many kids fall behind and never catch up. The site teaches through online videos and one-on-one tutoring. It also teaches the skills necessary to study math by helping kids come up with a study plan -- all built around a game model to keep kids engaged. It starts with 8th grade because that, not the third year of high school, according to Supanc, is when kids need to start getting their skills in order for college.
A basic plan – with two one-on-one tutoring sessions a month – is $29 per month. But you don’t need a plan. It's free to play. You just need points to pay for the tutoring sessions. Kids can play to earn those points or you can buy them.